For those of you steeped in classical literature, none of this will be news. (Skip forward and buy the story - you'll have fun with it ;) ) For those not as familiar, a little bit about why the heck I'd want to write about a minotaur.
Properly, of course, it should be THE Minotaur, capitalized and said with a certain sense of dread, but when you write fantasy you get to assume that perhaps there was more than one. I digress.
The story of the Minotaur, in brief, is that King Minos of Crete made a promise to Poseidon that he didn't keep, Poseidon got mad and sent a beautiful bull to the island and then made Minos' wife Pasiphae, fall in love with it. Yeah. The myth goes there. We'll skip ahead... Pasiphae has a child with this bull and it's not quite right. It had the head of a bull and the body of a man.
She tries to do right by the baby, but it grows up huge and fierce and starts eating people. Mom and stepdad shut the Minotaur up in a labyrinth and send it sacrifices from vassal kingdoms. Eventually a prince from Athens, Theseus, comes along and slays the Minotaur and ends the terrible consumption of youths and maidens.
So far, so good. Thing is, the story we know is, not shockingly, told from an Athenian point of view. The Minoan culture on the island of Crete didn't leave much behind for us in the way of their own stories. But when people studied the ruins of Knossos on Crete, they started to put some things together.
The bull was revered in Minoan culture and there were bull dancing ceremonies where athletic young people vaulted bulls using their backs and horns. Some accidents probably occurred, but I very much doubt the bulls had any interest in eating humans. (Eeeew, say all the bulls.)
The labyrinth as well is most likely an exaggeration of the complexity of Minoan architecture, which did tend to be twisty and turny. I guess the Athenians didn't like that. So what we see in the myth of the Minotaur is partly cultural misinterpretation and partly a once conquered people telling stories about the evil oppressor - whether the stories were true or not.
It's this and the general character of Theseus himself - he was a total jerk - that's always made me more sympathetic to the Minotaur. I've often wondered what he was really like.
In Bulls, Books and Bacchanals, I finally got to tell the Minotaur's side of the story. Somewhere deep down, I think I've always wanted to.
Releasing next Wednesday. Up for pre-order now;
BRANDYWINE INVESTIGATIONS: FAMILY MATTERS
BRANDYWINE INVESTIGATIONS #2
Barnes and Noble
With his career firmly established and his reputation as a successful PI growing, Hades should have the perfect life with his human lover, his faithful ferryman, his dogs and the parts of his family still speaking to him. But murder and chaos are never far away for death lords as his nephew Dionysus and his oldest friend Charon are drawn into the maelstrom.
Books, Bulls, & Bacchanals: Brandywine Investigations #4
The god of wine and orgies teams up with the librarian of the gods to investigate a murder. Should go well, don't you think?
Midwinter Dancing: Brandywine Investigations #4.5
Ing's grandmother has always told her about meeting the old gods. She's never believed it until one snowy midwinter night.
Pack Up the Moon: Brandywine Investigations #5
Death isn't working within normal parameters. Charon the ferryman needs to figure out why before it's too late, with or without the help of a certain, paws-in-everything raccoon god.
Please note: Books, Bulls & Bacchanals has been re-edited with a few story adjustments for this edition.
Angel writes (mostly) Science Fiction and Fantasy centered around queer heroes. Currently living part time in the hectic sprawl of northern Delaware and full time inside her head, she has one husband, one son, two cats, a love of all things beautiful and a terrible addiction to the consumption of both knowledge and chocolate.